Mr. Straus to Mr. Bayard.

No. 147.]

Sir: Referring to your several instructions respecting the petition of the trustees of the University of Pennsylvania, praying that application be made to the Sublime Porte for permission to make excavation in the vilayet of Baghdad, I have the honor to report:

That such permission has finally been obtained by me, a translation of which is herein inclosed.

The restricted laws in respect to excavations (reported in my dispatch No. 78 of May 9, 1888) added to the fact that applications made during recent years on behalf of European museums and societies had been and were being refused, made it extremely difficult to obtain permission for the petitioners.

Through the kindness of the grand vizier the matter of this application was laid before the council of ministers, and there it was finally decided to grant the permission to the petitioners to make such excavations upon the conditions stated. As this permission contained terms not provided for by the law, namely, the right to buy certain of the articles excavated with the implied right to export them, the matter had to be referred to His Majesty the Sultan for an iradé.

The matter rested in this position for some weeks.

Rev. John P. Peters, professor in the University of Pennsylvania, and the head of the expedition, was here during all this time, and expressed himself willing to accept the conditions as made by the council of ministers, rather than incur the delay which further efforts would entail.

On the occasion of my audience with the Sultan on the 23d ultimo, I called His Majesty’s attention to the subject, and he replied that the iradé would be granted immediately. So it was; and on the 1st instant the papers were all completed and placed in Mr. Peter’s hands, and he with his associates have left for the site of their proposed work. The grand vizier and the minister of public instruction gave Mr. Peters letters to the vali of Aleppo to facilitate the members of the expedition in their transit.

In this connection I beg to call attention to an error in translation of article 18 of the law on excavations, as forwarded by me and printed in special issue No. 48 of United States Consular Reports. Instead of piastres, it should read Turkish pounds in each place.

I have, etc.,

O. S. Straus.
[Page 706]
[Inclosure in No. 147.—Translation.]

Permit to Pennsylvania University to make excavations in the Vilayet of Baghdad.


Upon the request of the legation of the United States of America, which made application on behalf of the trustees of Pennsylvania University in America for permission to excavate antiquities at Nemrod, district of Hilé, and at Telufer, district of Divanié, both in the province of Bagdad, the present permit has been granted for two years in the name of the said trustees, and in accordance with the law respecting antiquities. The necessary investigations having been made and the formalities having been complied with, according to the terms of said law, which provides that all the antiquities excavated shall belong to the government museum; that all the antiquities which may be discovered shall be retained, under the supervision of the official who will be appointed, in a secure place, so that the excavators shall not be able to take possession of them. The excavators will he authorized to commence working after they have delivered to the authorities of Bagdad the topographical plans of the localities whereon they wish to dig. They shall not trespass beyond the limits indicated in those plans, and before having completed the excavations in one locality they shall not commence upon the other.

Conformably with the regulations, should the work by reason of any objections he temporarily stopped, the excavators will have no right to claim any damages or indemnity on that account, and at the termination of the term of permit, if the excavations in said localities should not have been begun, or if begun they shall not have been completed, the excavators are bound to get a new permit for said localities. At the termination of this permit or before, if they give notice that the excavations are completed, and if it is shown that they have conformed to the rules and regulations, the money they have deposited as security shall be returned to them.

Should the excavators not commence work within three months from the day the permit is handed to them by the governor-general of the province, or having commenced they shall stop work for the period of two months without any reason, the permit will be canceled.

The permit can not he transferred or sold to any other persons.

They shall pay the salary of the official who will be assigned to them by the department, and in all matters conform strictly with the said law.

Of the antiquities discovered, if there are any, which, in the opinion of the authorities of the imperial museum, are not needed, upon their value being assessed by mutual agreement between the two parties and with the consent of the Sublime Porte, such articles may be sold to said excavators.

  • Kiamil, Grand Vizier.
  • Muniz,
    Minister of Public Instruction.